Tuesday was the start of what John Bolduc hopes is a long-term relationship with the city of Brainerd.
It was the start of Bolduc's tenure as Brainerd police chief.
While his first day as head of the Brainerd Police Department was spent mostly unpacking his office, meeting people and trying to remember names, Bolduc said he so far was impressed with the department.
"They strike me as very professional," Bolduc said. "The way the organization is run, it speaks a lot about the quality of staff here."
Thursday there will be a police department meeting to introduce Bolduc, and on May 21 he will meet the Brainerd City Council.
Bolduc, 35, had been Mora police chief for the past three years, and served with the Maple Grove Police Department for almost 12 years, five of those as a sergeant.
He'll be making the 70-mile commute between Mora and Brainerd until he and his wife, Dawn, sell their house in Mora. Once here, they hope to stay.
"This is a long-term move for us," he said.
Though Brainerd has a police chief for the first time in 10 months, there is still the matter of a lawsuit against the city concerning the police chief interviewing and hiring process.
Brainerd Police Sgt. Becky Putzke, along with Bolduc a final candidate for the police chief position, served a civil lawsuit on Brainerd city officials.
In the complaint, Putzke claimed the committee conducting final interviews for police chief illegally closed its meetings, on both Dec. 5 and Dec. 14, to discuss the police chief search.
Putzke's lawyer had also indicated he would consider bringing an action to the state Court of Appeals once the new chief had been approved by the city council.
Despite the litigation the council voted to offer the job to Bolduc and invited him to start Tuesday.
Bolduc said Putzke assured him the litigation is nothing personal against him. Bolduc said it won't affect his or the department's work.
"It's a non-factor," he said. "Everything has been dealt with so far professionally and above board. I can't see where this will interfere with the job in anyway."
The next couple weeks will be spent getting to know the officers, residents, city officials and the city itself.
While Brainerd is a demographic and geographic change from Mora, Bolduc said some things are very much the same, such as crime.
He said Mora's drug problems are similar to the kind facing not only Brainerd but the entire area, and he hopes his experience fighting drug trafficking, as well as the experience of Brainerd's officers doing the same, will benefit the city.
"Unfortunately, I became very knowledgeable about meth and its impact on a community," said Bolduc, who while working in Maple Grove, a Twin Cities suburb, never saw the drug but did so in Mora. Bolduc said Mora had been referred to as the methamphetamine capital of Minnesota.
However, policing methamphetamine and other drugs has given him a knowledge of how best to fight it. "It's good to understand the complexities of the issue. Experience helps," he added.
Crime, in general, he said, is the same wherever you go and to provide service the department will need to have people in the right places. He said that may mean hiring more officers or moving people to areas of need. He said he doesn't know yet but he realizes it will be an important issue for him in the near future.
Bolduc also has been following the police department's space needs, something he has gone through in both Maple Grove and Mora, and he feels the issue is a critical one, noting that in Maple Grove because of the lack of space to interview suspects -- a problem he said is shared at the Law Enforcement Center -- confessions were lost.
Bolduc also knows being perhaps the most visible department head in Brainerd it is important for him to build a relationship with Brainerd residents.
"We're in a service industry and it's very important, critical, to build relationships with the community," he said. "The service we provide is under the public eye. People need to know we're going to serve them."
The Brainerd police chief position has been vacant since previous Chief Frank Ball retired at the end of July 2000 to take a position as the director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Alcohol and Gambling Division.
Capt. Lyman Dahl had served as acting police chief since Ball's retirement, but he did not seek the full-time police chief position.
Ball, who still resides in Brainerd, has spoken with Bolduc to congratulate him and inform him about the staff.
"He had nothing but good to say about the department, staff, he left me with a very good impression of the department," Bolduc sai
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